• Sona Chaturvedi

Justice Matters


Photo Illustration: Joe Darrow/Photo Credit: Mandel Ngan.

What happens January 20th when Joe Biden is sworn in? It’s already going to be unlike any inauguration we have ever witnessed. Due to the coronavirus, there will be no crowds, all attendees will be socially distanced and everyone will wear masks. It will be an odd sight, but one that fits with the times.

The most notable difference, however, will be the non-traditional transition of power. In all likelihood, the current president won’t even be there. Donald Trump and his agents are continuing their seditious and treasonous attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election — and, in effect, overthrow American democracy. These efforts to stop Joe Biden from becoming president have extended to the use of stochastic terrorism and other provocations, to murmurs about martial law, political violence and a second civil war. Now we are hearing Donald Trump could go as far as declaring himself president and attempt to "rule" in exile. What will happen with his true loyalists? Will they commit political violence, like we saw last weekend in Washington, D.C.? Will they obstruct laws, such as federal mandates issued by the Biden administration? And what are we going to do about it? Will we issue them fines or prison sentences? We have never been here before, so we don’t have the answers yet. And we don’t have any recourse, except legal ones. Those must be enforced. I, like many of us, are horrified by the mere suggestion that Biden pardons Trump and moves forward with governing. Absolutely not. Accountability is everything right now. It is everything that matters. Whoever Joe Biden nominates to be his Attorney General cannot allow Donald Trump, and the criminal elements who have latched on to him, to get away with their many crimes. This is the only way they will be held accountable. If they aren’t, we will all be victims. There will be no justice.

If Joe Biden wants to shore up American democracy, he needs to shore up American accountability. That means prosecution for Donald Trump's crimes, according to Anand Giridharadas of The Ink. Sherrilyn Ifill, a civil-rights lawyer, agrees. She says there has to be a reckoning. “We need to look with clear eyes at the foundation of our democracy and decide what has been missing and has to be added to the mix,” she said. “What has to be strengthened? What has to be created to ensure that we never end up where we were, which was so close to being over the cliff.” We, as citizens, need to be vocal. It is in our nature to want things to return to normal and heal, but we can no longer simply live with that scenario. We need to demand our Justice Department proceeds with legal action and restores the rule of law to this country. If justice prevails, America will prevail. Make no mistake about it. The world is watching what we do next. Our entire legacy depends on our integrity and ability to overcome this dark period in American history. That means justice. That means accountability. And it matters.